The Outcast Girls: A completely heartbreaking and gripping World War 2 historical novel

· Bookouture
6 reviews

About this ebook

‘I just couldn't put this one down. I loved every page and I went through an entire box of tissues before I was done. You will keep turning the pages until the very end because you just won't be able to put it down at all.’ Crossroad Reviews, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


An utterly heartbreaking tale of two young girls, worlds apart, who are thrown together when they have lost everything. Fans of Wives of War, Before We Were Yours and Diney Costeloe will absolutely love this poignant and moving World War Two novel.


Germany, 1939: Eleven-year-old Frieda is boarding a ship bound for England with her little brother, Kurt. Life at home is perilous, with synagogues set alight and innocent lives lost to the Nazis, and they have no choice but to flee. But as Frieda stands on the deck crammed with frightened children, her brother jumps off, back to land.


England, 1939: After a devastating childhood at Blakely Hall Orphanage, seventeen-year-old Sandra longs to put her past behind her. But when war breaks out and her brother Alf is sent to fly bombers, she’s completely alone.


1943: When Sandra and Frieda’s paths cross in the remote countryside, each girl finds a home at last. Facing long, terrifying nights in bunkers, they huddle together as planes roar above them and distant explosions shake them to their cores. They console one another – Frieda, with no idea whether her family have been captured or if her brother survived, and Sandra praying that Alf will live to see tomorrow.


The darkness of war may shroud them but as long as they have each other, they can keep a little light in the world. Will Frieda and Sandra ever be reunited with their loved ones? And will the two handwritten letters bound their way hold news of happiness… or heartbreak?

Readers are losing their hearts to The Outcast Girls:


Wow. I was totally gone from Chapter 1… The story of Sandra and Freida is one I will not forget for a long time. Written with so much love! While this is my first book by this author it won’t be my last!’ Goodreads Reviewer


Heartbreaking and poignant… Best read with a box of tissues handy as this book is sure to make readers tear up and up again.’ Bookish Jottings


Outstanding… What a page-turner this beautifully written, heart-wrenching story… This is a real tug-at-your-heartstrings book.’ Chapter Chatter Pub, 5 stars


I can honestly say I loved it.’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars


Impossible to put down I unquestionably loved this book.’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars


I didn’t want to put it down!... A beautifully written story that pulls at your heart strings. Another 5-star read from Shirley Dickson!’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars


Wonderful I loved every page. A heartwarming story of love and sorrow and an

endearing friendship.’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars


Rips at your heartstrings.’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars


Definitely tugged on my heartstrings I turned the pages quickly.’ Robin Loves Reading, 5 stars


Will warm your heart… Will bring tears to your eyes… I truly enjoyed every page. So well worth the stars, and loved it all to the end.’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars


‘A captivating and emotional wartime saga which pulls on your heartstrings right from the first pageMesmerising.’ Stardust Book Review, 5 stars


I loved it!... Brilliant.’ Goodreads Reviewer


Wonderful… I was extremely invested, hanging on to every last word… It left me longing for more… A captivating story you can get emotionally invested in!’ Goodreads Reviewer


‘I have literally just finished this and had to come and start writing straight away! I loved it! Honestly what a story, I am a sucker for World War 2 books and this, well I couldn't help get invested in Sandra and Frieda's lives, their heartbreak and their joy.’ Goodreads Reviewer

‘I love WWII historicals and The Outcast Girls was just perfect for me. I am now looking for Ms Dickson's backlist, as she is a new author to me.’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars


‘I became totally invested in this story almost immediately. I know that I will read this book again.’  Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

Ratings and reviews

6 reviews
January 25, 2020
I received a free electronic ARC of this historical novel from Netgalley, Shirley Dickson, and Bookouture. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of the work. Shirley Dickson is on my favorite authors' list. She paints wartime England beautifully, and her characters are complete, complex people with heart. After November 1938 Kristallnacht in Berlin in February 1939, Frieda Sternberg, 11 or 12 years old, and her little brother Kurt, two years younger, were placed on a Jewish Children's emigration train via a group known as 'Movement for the care of Children from Germany' which set up transportation and foster families to take-in the children when they reached rural England. The children, all under 17 years, could carry only a small suitcase and they would cross into Holland, train to the Dutch coast and then boat or ferry to England and stay with foster families for the duration of the war. Their father had already been gathered up in one of the pogroms, leaving their mother and grandmother hiding in the home of a family friend. Kurt wanted to stay in Berlin and help out the ladies - his dad had told him that he was the man of the house until father returned. He boarded the train but was known for obstinance and stubbornness. Frieda worried that he would give her trouble. She didn't anticipate him jumping ship as the boarding ramp was removed, however. He waves her goodbye as she steams out of the Holland port. Frieda arrived in England alone and feeling guilty that she had let her parents down, and of course, worried sick about Kurt. Her foster situation is nice, she works part-time and lived with the post-mistress, Aunty Doris, in Leadburn. Life in England is very trying, however. Frieda is ostracized and resented and occasionally abused by most of her classmates in school, if not for her German heritage and accent, then for her Jewish religion. She develops a food aversion while still in school, finding it almost impossible to eat anything, and dwindles down to a twig. When she is about to age out of the program of relief that helps Doris support her at not-quite-fifteen, Frieda is offered a job on Nichol's farm on the outskirts of Leadburn. Without other options, she is grateful for the job with housing, though she still isn't eating enough to keep a bird alive and can add Mrs. Nichols to Doris among those worried about her. Sandra Hudson was raised as was her older brother Alf in a British orphanage after their mother died. Their father was an invalid and died soon after they settled into the routine of the children's home. At 15 she went into service. Her brother Alf was already in the Royal Air Force and stationed on the coast. Sandra was unlucky with the draw of an employer - she is basically slave labor for the Kirton family, taking the place of several staff members as they quit or are laid off, until only she and the Cook, Olive, are left to do the work of many. The only highlight in her life is when she received mail from her brother - which Olive happily reads to her. Olive also has son Kenneth in the military, so in their friendship, they feel like old souls and confidants despite the age difference. The Kirton son Duncan, home from school, does his best to sexually abuse the girl. After Sandra screams for help several times, a nearby bomb knocks the corner off of the house next door and drops ceiling and roof parts onto Sandra. After she is dug out of the debris, Sandra tries to explain how she wound up in Duncan's bed, but Mrs. Kirton lets her go without reference or past wages and threatens her should she tell anyone what happened with Duncan. But for the assist of confidant and friend Olive Goodwin, she would have been broke and homeless, and Sandra knew she needed to find work fast. She is unable to read or write, so service work is about all that she feels confident to seek, but Olive talks her into shooting a little higher.
Gaele Hi
January 27, 2020
Starting at the orphanage that was the jumping off point of The Orphan Girls, we have Sandra – a long term orphanage resident with her younger brother and we have Frieda, a German Jewish girl who was sent from Germany to England with her younger brother for their safety. Unfortunately, before they left German, Frieda’s brother left ship, leaving his sister alone, frightened and worrying for him. Plunked into the orphanage and as the ‘new kid’ who was also different, Frieda’s worries for her brother aren’t soothed by the bullying or newness of her situation, and only her courage and hope helped. Leaving the orphanage after aging out, Sandra finds herself in domestic service for a woman who ‘didn’t always’ appreciate her. When she learns that her bother is going to war, she wants to do her part and joins in the Woman’s Land Army which is where she meets Freida in the small village where the farm is. While the two girls have plenty in common and even their worries for their brothers are things to tie them together – the gentle use of their actual differences and approaches to each day and the world around them shows the strength of them both, and the support they gain from one another. Make no mistake, there were moments in the story that felt very ‘here we go again’ as situations and some dramatic moments that felt more ‘dressing’ than ‘substance’ were here, but the story was clever and tried to provide insight into the homefront and the women of the Land Girls with a bit of a twist, adding in Frieda and her own unique perspective on both the war and her own worries for family. Most striking is the moments when both girls allow themselves a moment to wonder IF they’ll ever see family again, allowing the reader to remember just how ‘alone’ both of them are. A solid read with plenty of moments to enjoy. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
1 person found this review helpful
Lisa T
May 10, 2020
I could not put this book down. The characters are beautifully depicted and I was immediately transported back in time. I am not usually an avid reader but I read this book in record time. A great read if you are looking to lounge on the couch for the weekend with a good cuppa or two on standby.

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